Many things can cause that problem. If the oil drain plug in the bottom of the bell housing is clogged up and oil has built up inside that can cause it as can water building up and causing rust. Look for the cotter pin in the bottom of the bell housing and make sure it is there and loose. As for pulling the starter yes that can be fun and not in a good way. You have to loosen both bolts and when you can wiggle it out some you stick a nut on the bolt to the most out side so you keep the starter from pulling apart then turn and pull and get the 2nd nut on. I have seen them get so stuck you had to split the tractor to fix them
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